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Police to deploy technology to bandit-infected areas – FG

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Minister of Police Affairs Muhammad Dingyadi
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Disturbed by the activities of terrorists and bandits, the Nigeria Police Force has resolved to deploy modern and best technology to put an end to the menace of the criminals.

It has also resolved to use high tech to win the war on insurgency and terrorism in the country.

The Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, stated this when he tackled issues on Nigeria’s security challenges.

He said this during the presidential briefing organised by the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja.

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According to Dingyadi, policing is no longer about the use of sophisticated weapons like AK 47 and other security gadgets but deployment of high technology and techniques to achieve the desired goal of safeguarding lives and property of citizens.

He said: ”I like the fact that you have drawn attention to the fact that policing strategy now is no longer about having motorcades, AK 47 and other security gadgets. And that what is required now is high tech to win the war on insurgency or whatever you’re fighting.

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”That is the way to go. And we are moving in that direction. But, you know, the police is a civil institution and we’re not even emphasizing these arms and ammunition.

”What we are emphasizing is to ensure that, as civilians, as we are, we try to ensure that issues are resolved without having to use firearms or anything.

“And with the support of the community, with the support of Nigerians, the police don’t need to use firearms but we’ll have them and we’re having them in case there is a need to use them.

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”What is most important is the technology like you said and we are paying special attention to this. And we know the whole world is going in that direction and this administration is not unmindful of that direction and we’re trying to pursue to ensure that policing is technology-driven.

”We will make sure that the police in this country have the best technology to fight these criminalities. So please support us in whatever we do, we are out there for you, and the police are always ready and willing to support whoever needs our support. In the same vein, we also need your support.”

Dingyadi, accompanied by top government officials from his ministry, also gave insight on key updates from the Presidential Roadmap on Police Reform, innovative strides currently being executed in the Nigeria Police.

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He equally stressed the impact the implementation of police reforms would have on internal security in Nigeria while enumerating the efforts being made toward the welfare of police officers.

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”You will recall that the Ministry of Police Affairs was established on the 21st of August 2019 by Mr President to, among other things, give attention to re-equipping and re-tooling the police, remodel policing infrastructure via the government community policing initiative and promote commitment to duty through the improvement of welfare for our policemen and women in this country.”

The minister, who spoke extensively on police welfare and barracks renovation, maintained that they could not work effectively in an unhealthy environment.

According to him, the Police Trust Fund and the Police Force Headquarters are now paying special attention to the renovation and construction of new barracks for the police.

”Yes, the police cannot work effectively in that environment. We are paying special attention to the renovation of these barracks and police formations.

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”You have to have a very serene environment for the police to perform.

”So, we are aware of this and we are giving it the needed attention that it deserves. I believe we’re already aware. We have never had it as good as we’re having it today.

”I want to assure you that the Police Trust Fund and the Police Force Headquarters are now paying special attention to the renovation and construction of new barracks for the police.

”Right now, I am driving a memo in the council which came out last week. And we’re trying to sort out a few issues with the Abuja Development Control towards ensuring that we provide befitting accommodation for our police officers.

”So, we are on this and I want to assure you that we will give it the due attention that it deserves so that we will have the support and understanding of our police who are using these dilapidated structures all over the country.”

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On the State of Nigerian Internal Security, the minister stated that the Boko Haram insurgents, who launched brutal campaign against innocent and harmless citizens in the Northeast zone since 2009 had been dislodged.

He, however, admitted that the terror group, out of frustration, had been engaging in hit and run guerrilla tactics.

”It has been established that certain security threats are associated with some geopolitical corridors. The Northeast, for instance, has a history of Boko Haram campaigns against harmless citizens since 2009.

”These terrorists subsequently formed alliances with the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) which unleashed destructive terrorist activities on the zone.

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”However, a fierce military might with the police support has degraded the terrorist capability and dislodged them from their hitherto strong base in the Northeast.

”They are now going back into the cocoons, engaging in hit and run guerrilla tactics,” he added.

According to Dingyadi, some affiliated groups of the Boko Haram and ISWAP now synergises with bandits operating in the northwest and the parts of North Central.

He said: ”In the Northwest, the onslaught on Boko Haram and its affiliated group in the northeast, despite desperate survival attempts, now synergises with bandits operating in the northwest and the parts of North Central, particularly the middle region.

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”This ugly trend is currently receiving commensurate attention with the deployment of operational assets to neutralize the menace.”

The minister noted that in the South-East, security came under severe threat following violent attacks on security formations and civilians by militant Biafrans separatist groups.

According to him, sustained security operations in this region, have in recent times localised their operations to Imo and Anambra, while the government continues to employ strategies to engender peace and security in the entire Southeast.

The minister noted that, unlike the southeast, the South-South zone was relatively free from violent criminalities.

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”However, the isolated cases of kidnap for ransom and armed robbery have been dealt with by the police and other security agencies.

”A special task force against oil theft set up by the Inspector General of Police is operating in the zone to check illegal bunkering and other related economic sabotage.

”Security in the Southwest is similar to that of the south-south.

He observed that the incidents of oil theft in the zone had also been reduced to the barest minimum.

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On the Police Trust Fund bill signed into law by the President on June 21, 2019, Dingyadi stated that the fund has successfully delivered on its 2020 and 2021 budgets, purchasing operational vehicles, arms and ammunition, bulletproof vests and helmets for police operations.

The minister revealed that the fund also purchased medical items to meet the health needs of policemen nationwide, while in addition, accommodation for the police has also received a facelift.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Sept. 16, 2020 signed the Nigerian police Bill 2020, which repealed the obsolete police laws of the Federation 2004.

The Federal government also approved the setting up of a police reform technical team in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to coordinate efforts geared towards achieving this lofty aim.

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The minister also noted that a lot has been achieved by the four police premier training colleges in Maiduguri, Kaduna, Lagos, and Enugu.

According to him, an upward review of recruitment procedures and training curricula in these institutions is also under consideration, saying that development of promotion and leadership courses at all levels of these institutions are also being reviewed by the technical committee.

”Overall, the presidential police reform team will in due course harmonize submissions so that we have a similar committee at the most senior level to involve 21st century and nimble-footed in the policing architecture in Nigeria,” he said.

Also speaking on the newly approved enhanced emolument for the police personnel, Dingyadi maintained that this gesture had further underscored the government’s commitment to entrenching welfare being a key component of police reforms under the Buhari administration.

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According to him, all the necessary computations to guide the payment of the new salary package have been completed and forwarded to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning for implementation, which is expected to commence very soon.

He also announced that his ministry had obtained approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the concession of the moribund National Public Security Communication System.

The system was installed in all states of the Federation, except Borno by the previous administration, due to security challenges at that time.

”This initiative is aimed at reviving this project, due to its critical importance in the security architecture of the country. When fully operational, happenings in all parts of the country will be monitored in real-time on the command and control centre for proactive policing and prompt response to situations.

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”Efforts are currently ongoing by the concessionaire, that is NPS technology to revive this project.

”The concessionaire has taken over the facilities and is currently pursuing the issuance of universal access service license from the National Communications Commission to commence full-scale operation.

He added that the ministry also secured the federal executive council’s approval for the police specialised automation project meant to block financial leakages, deepen accountability and mitigate funding gaps for policing in Nigeria.

”It is envisaged that in the medium and long term period, the project will deliver economic benefits and improved efficiencies for the police,” he said.

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The minister stated that his ministry was collaborating with some foreign countries to acquire surveillance equipment to address security challenges in trouble spots across the country.

”Yes, we’re not doing it alone. Particularly, we are relating a lot to China. As you’re aware, the CCTV cameras are financed through loans from Nexim Bank of China.

”Presently, we are procuring so much equipment from China and many other countries.

”We are relating to ensure that we have the best equipment from these countries that we think we can relate with.

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”So, we are relating with several countries and organizations some of them come to us directly to extend their support to us.

”The police are for everybody. And I think we are aware of this and that is why we are extending our hands of fellowship to China and other countries so that together we build the police of pride for Nigerians.”

On community policing, the minister disclosed that 25,000 constabularies have so far been trained for the programme across the 36 states of the federation.

”The programme is on course and is in all the 36 states of the Federation, and these constabularies have been posted to their various communities. And like I said, in my presentation, to do a lot of policing activities in those areas, and to add to the visibility of police in those communities.

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”The responsibility of the communities in which these constabularies are being posted is to cooperate with these constabularies to ensure that they assist them in sharing intelligence, in reporting cases that need to be reported, and to assist them in resolving issues that can be easily or locally resolved.

”So the community policing programme is there for the communities to ensure that they collaborate with these constabularies to provide peace in their communities.

The minister also revealed that 20,000 Constables out of the 40,000 approved by President Buhari, had so far been recruited into the Nigeria Police Force.

”You will recall that Mr President had directed us to recruit 40,000 Constables within his second tenure.

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”So far we have recruited 20,000, and we are on the third trench of this recruitment. And I think in the next one month or two, we will be concluding the third trench and we will be having about 30,000 constables on our payroll.”

On the call for psychiatric evaluation for the police personnel, Dingyadi said:

”Talking about the psychological test and other tests that you are talking about, I want to assure you that we are busy taking every possible measure to ensure that we conduct thorough examinations, and very extensive screening, including medical tests to ensure that those we are recruiting are not coming just into any job.

”We are recruiting the best of hands to ensure that we support the principle of good policing in the country,” he said.

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The minister also disclosed that the police were doing their best to safeguard and protect school children across the country.

He said: ”The government has delegated this responsibility to the state governments to select schools that they think require security – and I think many states endeavoured to do that.

”Wherever there is a need for your security in schools, the police are there, assisting other security agencies to ensure the security of our children and for the staff of these institutions.

”We are there and I believe if you don’t see us in schools, it means the government does not want police in those schools. Because we can only operate in places where there is a need for our service.” (NAN)

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